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 He Knows No Fear: 300-1 shot becomes longest-priced
 winner in racing history
Chris Cook
• Shock win at Leopardstown beats 30-year-old record

These are difficult times for optimists but a low-profile race at Leopardstown on Thursday lifted the spirits of pinsticking punters, as well as those of most bookmakers, by providing a winner at the record-breaking odds of 300-1. He Knows No Fear was the horse in question and his name could surely be applied to any bettor taking a chance on him, as the colt had achieved next to nothing in his only previous race, barely beating the ambulance to the finishing line.

He is trained by Luke Comer, for whom racing is very much a sideline compared to the property developing business that made him wealthy. “We haven’t time, really, to concentrate on it,” Comer’s brother, Brian, said once and perhaps that explains why Comer-trained horses have become a byword for hopelessness; this was their first winner on the Flat for nine years.

With that in mind, the many punters who made Agitare the hot favourite on Thursday must have been counting their money when their handsome chestnut went clear in the straight, with only a horse in the Comer colours to beat. Alas for them, He Knows No Fear produced a relentless surge up the middle of the track to poke his nose in front with inches to spare.

Incredibly, the bookmaker Paddy Power said almost 100 of its customers had backed the winner, albeit to small stakes, which is perhaps an indication that the spirit of optimism dies very hard indeed. “These punting heroes have either been struck by divine inspiration or are extremely shrewd form judges,” said a spokesman, a note of bitterness perhaps detectable behind the sarcasm.

Ladbrokes Coral reported 63 winning bets taken through their websites, the biggest stake being £2.50 each-way. But a single punter in their Main Street, Dublin branch had been braver, they said, staking €100 each-way for a payout of €36,000.

Comer’s assistant, Jim Gorman, revealed that staff at the yard had thought enough of He Knows No Fear to have a few quid on when he made his thoroughly disappointing racecourse debut. Perhaps some of them had enough insight to go in again but, if so, Gorman omitted to mention it.

“All our horses have been running well in the last few weeks and knocking on the door without winning,” he added, “so it’s just great to get a winner.” The 300-1 starting price trumps the 250-1 at which Equinoctial was returned when winning a £2,000 race at Kelso back in 1990. The previous record in Ireland was 200-1, set by another jumper, Killahara Castle, three years ago.

Comer’s yard was last in the headlines in 2017, when he was repeatedly fined by the Irish authorities for failing to comply with regulations on how his stable should be run. Among other infractions, he was found to have provided inadequate supervision for his horses and to have refused officials access to his training premises.

At one stage, he was threatened with a six-month suspension of his licence and that year ended with a €50,000 bill from the Turf Club in fines and costs. Comer, who did not respond to requests for comment, is presumably a lot happier about the racing side of his business now.

He Knows No Fear returned 999/1 (seen as 1000) on the Betfair Exchange - the biggest possible price.

Betfair Spokesman, Barry Orr, said: "As you can imagine, it’s highly unusual for any horse to have a Betfair SP at the ceiling price of 1000 (999/1) on the Exchange but that’s what we had today.

"And in a truly bizarre turn of events, never seen before on the Betfair Exchange, not only did the winner have a Betfair SP of 1000 but he also traded at those odds in-running, while the runner-up, and even-money favourite, Agitare, traded at the basement price of 1.01 (1/100).

Previous huge-price shocks


Equinoctial was for almost 30 years the longest-priced winner ever in the UK and Ireland, returning at the phenomenal odds of 250-1 in a novice handicap hurdle at Kelso in November 1990 for Durham-based trainer Norman Miller.


Killahara Castle. Ireland’s biggest previous winner. Her victory at Thurles in December 2017 saw the John Burke-trained mare notch a piece of history, as she joined the 200-1 winner club at the expense of an odds-on favourite.

Intercessor The John Gallagher-trained three-year-old was the complete outsider and totally unfancied in a field of 10 for a one-mile novice stakes at Newbury on June 13 2020. Given a no-nonsense ride by apprentice star Cieren Fallon, Intercessor made virtually all the running and hung on by a head in a bunch finish – with just half a length covering the first five.

Maoi Chinn Tire Making a first start for new trainer Jennie Candlish, on his jumps debut, Maoi Chinn Tire was initially a sprinter on the Flat – but he was good value for his Listed hurdle win at Wetherby, over two miles on October 29 2010. Nine of his 13 wins in 83 races across the codes came after his shock victory – and he also finished fourth at 100/1 in a Grade One juvenile hurdle at Aintree.

Lights Of Broadway The mare was having her third run for Jo Hughes when winning a novice hurdle at Taunton on January 9 2012, staying on in the hands of Mark Grant to beat another outsider, 50/1 chance Wishes And Stars, by three-quarters of a length.

Dandy Flame Trained and owned by Berkshire-based Jose Santos, a Monday evening at Wolverhampton on July 25 2016 was the scene of Dandy Flame’s turn-up. Making a mockery of the form book, he surged two and three-quarter lengths clear of Elegantly Bound in the hands of Renato Souza.

Arctic Blue Another having his first run for a new trainer, Patrick Rodford’s five-year-old won a two-mile novice hurdle at Chepstow on March 23 2005 in the hands of 10lb claimer Keiran Burke.

Beechy Bank Having her first run back for Mary Hambro after a brief spell with Richard Phillips, the then four-year-old faced eight rivals in an extended mile-and-a-half contest at Warwick on September 21 2002 and was ridden by Vince Slattery. Leading over a furlong out, the filly dug deep to beat Miss Gigi by a length.